Real Training, Life Changing is an understatement for what goes into the program design at Brighton Center's Center for Employment Training. As a trainee you are not only provided with an opportunity, you are given tools that enable you to build a foundation and re-design your life.
There is safety and security in these walls, we learn to trust and build confidence, enabling us to unlock hidden talents. As a graduate of this program, I’ve shared in many victories. It's amazing to witness the evolution of a person. Celebrating the success of others gives hope to those who are new to this journey. Often we think we need to make drastic changes to our lives, we are always waiting for the perfect time.
In reality, the time is now and the only thing we need to change is the way we view ourselves, the rest will follow. You can go anywhere to learn a trade, but very few places provide a platform that allows you to take your power back from situations that kept you down.
CET has been a home for those who didn’t have one and family for many who felt alone.
I’ve seen people afraid to attempt their GED, find the motivation to combat their fears and be successful. Working with a Success Coach you learn to be your own change agent. Resources aren’t just provided, you are coached on how to navigate, advocate, and utilize the services available. You don’t have to feel like you're asking for a handout, it's because of your dedication and hard work that these services are available.
As a former Success Coach, I know the value of building healthy relationships and learning to speak the emotional language of each person you work with. Barriers are removed, but not because we do it for people. Instead, we guide and empower individuals to do it for themselves.
As a Skill Instructor, I am grateful there are no entry requirements for training. I have worked with some of the most brilliant minds who might not have made it past an entrance exam. Many have gone on to pursue higher education and credit their confidence and success to the foundation they built at Center for Employment Training. I give all the credit to the individuals who found success within these walls.
As a trainee, I always thought there was something magical about this program. So many people have beaten the odds against them, stabilized their situation, and have successful careers.
After 11 years of working here, I realize the magic isn't just in the program; It's in the people; the staff and customers alike. Most people just need a chance, they need someone who is patient and willing to do things differently. To have magic you have to believe, and we believe in our customers.
Jonika graduated from the Medical Assisting program at Center For Employment Training in 2006 and became an employee as a Success Coach a year later. She has since become a Skill Instructor for both the Medical Assisting and Health Administration Technology skill divisions.
"The many services and kindness I received as a trainee, is what made me want to be a part of the agency. I often would sit back and think how amazing it would be to work here, also knowing what our customers go through having lived it myself. I truly feel sharing my story with them, lets them know that they can be successful in this."
To enroll or learn more call (859) 491-8303 ext. 2201 or visit http://www.bccet.org/
By: Tom Haggard
For many young people in our community, the summer months are a time of relaxing at the pool, fun family vacations and staying up late and making memories with friends. However, for those young people who just graduated from high school this past spring – the summer months can be filled with deadlines, paperwork, and anxiety.
After spending years working on college prep courses, applications, essays, entrance exams and so much more; between 10 – 40% of accepted students never make it to campus in the fall according to the Strategic Data Project out of Harvard University, becoming victims of what researchers have called the summer melt. Unfortunately, these rates can be even higher for students from low and moderate-income families. The time between high school graduation and walking onto a college campus in the fall can seem like forever with all kinds of potential roadblocks and distractions along the way.
That’s where Brighton Center’s Center for Employment Training is here to help.
While we know that a traditional four-year university is not for everyone, we also know that by as early as next year (2020) – 65 percent of all jobs in our economy will require some form of postsecondary education or training. The Center for Employment Training is designed to serve anyone who wants real training with life-changing results.
We offer training programs in some of the most in-demand careers in our community - Medical Assisting, Health Technology Administration as well as Business & Computer Technologies. Consequently, CET does not have entry requirements unlike most colleges, universities, or other training institutions. You are treated as an individual with unique aspirations, needs, and abilities. Training is short-term and intensive—our goal is to get you into a career as quickly as you are qualified. You have a dedicated team wrapped around to provide support – a Skill Instructor to help you learn the basics of the career you want, a Success Coach to help you navigate whatever life throws your way during training and a Career Coach to help you attain your new dream job.
In addition, we partner with the Newport Adult Learning Center to offer GED and adult education services on-site as well as a Financial Wellness Coach to help you improve your credit and build your net worth. Our program is also open-entry, so a young person (or anyone!) can graduate from high school on Friday night and start training for their career on Monday morning – eliminating the summer melt. Last, but not least, the Center for Employment Training is a debt-free education so you won’t be saddled with the thousands of student loan debt as you embark on your first career.
We’d love to tell you more about how we can help you achieve your goals, so please stop by an Information Session – no appointment necessary. We are here every Tuesday at 10 a.m. and every Thursday at 2 p.m. to give a tour and answer your questions. Our campus is conveniently located at 601 Washington Avenue; Suite 140 in Newport, KY.
1. Start saving for a down payment early
It’s common to put 20% down, but many lenders now permit much less, and first-time homebuyer programs allow as little as 3% down. But putting down less than 20% may mean higher costs and paying for mortgage insurance, and even a small down payment can still be hefty. For example, a 5% down payment on a $200,000 home is $10,000.
2. Explore your down payment and mortgage options
There are lots of mortgage options out there, each with its own combination of pros and cons. Making a higher down payment will mean having a lower monthly mortgage payment. If you want the smallest mortgage payment possible, opt for a 30-year fixed mortgage. But if you can afford larger monthly payments, you can get a lower interest rate with a 20-year or 15-year fixed loan
3. Research state and local assistance programs
In addition to federal programs, many states offer assistance programs for first-time homebuyers with perks such as down payment assistance, closing cost assistance, tax credits and discounted interest rates. Your county or municipality may also have first-time homebuyer programs.
4. Determine how much home you can afford
Before you start looking for your dream home, you need to know what’s actually within your price range. Use this home affordability calculator to determine how much you can safely afford to spend.
5. Check your credit and pause any new activity
When applying for a mortgage loan, your credit will be one of the key factors in whether you’re approved, and it will help determine your interest rate and possibly the loan terms.
So check your credit before you begin the homebuying process. Dispute any errors that could be dragging down your credit score and look for opportunities to improve your credit, such as making a dent in any outstanding debts.
6. Compare mortgage rates
Many home buyers get a rate quote from only one lender, but this often leaves money on the table. Comparing mortgage rates from at least three lenders can save you more than $3,500 over the first five years of your loan, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Get at least three quotes and compare both rates and fees.
7. Get a preapproval letter
You can get pre-qualified for a mortgage, which simply gives you an estimate of how much a lender may be willing to lend based on your income and debts. But as you get closer to buying a home, it’s smart to get a preapproval, where the lender thoroughly examines your finances and confirms in writing how much it's willing to lend you, and under what terms. Having a preapproval letter in hand makes you look much more serious to a seller and can give you an upper hand over buyers who haven’t taken this step.
8. Hire the right buyer's agent
You’ll be working closely with your real estate agent, so it’s essential that you find someone you get along with well. The right buyer's agent should be highly skilled, motivated and knowledgeable about the area.
9. Pick the right type of house and neighborhood
- Research nearby schools, even if you don’t have kids since they affect home value.
- Look at local safety and crime statistics.
- Map the nearest hospital, pharmacy, grocery store and other amenities you’ll use.
- Drive through the neighborhood on various days and at different times to check out traffic, noise and activity levels.
10. Stick to your budget
Look at properties that cost less than the amount you were approved for. Although you can technically afford your preapproval amount, it’s the ceiling — and it doesn’t account for other monthly expenses or problems like a broken dishwasher that arise during homeownership, especially right after you buy. Shopping with a firm budget in mind will also help when it comes time to make an offer.
11. Make the most of open houses
When you're touring homes during open houses, pay close attention to the home’s overall condition, and be aware of any smells, stains or items in disrepair. Ask a lot of questions about the home, such as when it was built, when items were last replaced and how old key systems like the air conditioning and the heating are.
First-time home buyer mistakes to avoid
1. Not budgeting for closing costs
In addition to saving for a down payment, you’ll need to budget for the money required to close your mortgage, which can be significant. Closing costs generally run between 2% and 5% of your loan amount.
2. Not saving enough for after move-in expenses
Once you've saved for your down payment and budgeted for closing costs, you should also set aside a buffer to pay for what will go inside the house. This includes furnishings, appliances, rugs, updated fixtures, new paint and any improvements you may want to make after moving in.
3. Buying a home for today instead of tomorrow
It's easy to look at properties that meet your current needs. But if you plan to start or expand your family, it may be preferable to buy a larger home now that you can grow into. Consider your future needs and wants and whether the home you’re considering will suit them.
4. Passing up the chance to negotiate
A lot can be up for negotiation in the homebuying process, which can result in major savings. Are there any major repairs you can get the seller to cover, either by fully handling them or by giving you a credit adjustment at closing? Is the seller willing to pay for any of the closing costs? If you’re in a buyer's market, you may find the seller will bargain with you to get the house off the market.
5. Not knowing the limits of a home inspection
- Not all inspections test for things like radon, mold or pests, so be sure you know what's included.
- Make sure the inspector can access every part of the home, such as the roof and any crawl spaces.
- Attend the inspection and pay close attention.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your inspector to take a look — or a closer look — at something. And ask questions. No inspector will answer the question, “Should I buy this house?” so you’ll have to make this decision after reviewing the reports and seeing what the seller is willing to fix.
6. Not buying adequate homeowners insurance
Before you close on your new house, your lender will require you to buy homeowners' insurance. Shop around and compare insurance rates to find the best price. Look closely at what’s covered in the policies; going with a less expensive policy usually means fewer protections and more out-of-pocket expenses if you file a claim. Also, flood damage isn’t covered by homeowners' insurance, so if your new home is in a flood-prone area, you may need to buy separate flood insurance.
7. Consult with a HUD Certified Housing Counselor
Brighton Center have HUD certified Housing Counselors that can assist you with reaching your goal of homeownership. IF THIS IS YOUR GOAL please contact Brighton Center at (859) 491-8303 Ext. 2314.
By Talia Frye, Workforce Innovation Director, Brighton Center, Inc.
Did you know that over 6,000 young adults (ages 16-24) currently living in the eight counties of Northern Kentucky are not connected to employment or education? That’s right – today, there are thousands of young adults across Northern Kentucky who are not working and are not in school. This population is known as Opportunity Youth.
According to the Opportunity Index, in Northern Kentucky during 2016, there were 6,490 Opportunity Youth, with the majority (5,380 or 82%) in Campbell, Kenton, and Boone Counties. Concurrently, Northern Kentucky has the lowest unemployment rate in Kentucky at 3.6% (February 2019) and the state needs to annually add 165,000 workers to the labor force to meet national labor participation rates. Every person on the sidelines of our labor force is desperately needed to ensure economic vitality in our region. The education and employment needs for Opportunity Youth are crucial.
What we believe to be true is that our young adults are not lacking talent nor are they lacking motivation; in fact, today’s young adults are extremely intelligent and possess many of the critical skills sought after by regional employers, who are in desperate need to fill open positions. So, what’s the solution?
One thing is for certain – the Kentucky Career Center, Northern Kentucky’s largest, most comprehensive workforce development resource, is assuming a major role in addressing the issue.
Brighton Center’s Youth Talent Development Services, a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act program funded by Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board, works with Opportunity Youth to connect them to in-demand training and/or internships at local businesses in the most high demand sectors. Youth are comprehensively supported by their Workforce Coach who can link them to resources in the community that are impeding their ability to get connected to the workforce including housing, transportation, mental health, and other basic needs. Youth Talent Development Services also partners with local high schools to provide in-demand sector exploration events, resume workshops, and mock employment interviews.
In addition to Brighton Center’s program, Job Corps is also present at the Kentucky Career Center and offers a different career training pathway, for 16-24-year-olds, which includes a residential component. Job Corps graduates either enter the workforce or an apprenticeship, move on to higher education, or join the military. For more information about Job Corps, visit www.recruiting.jobcorps.gov
We have every reason to be optimistic, even excited, about the future of our workforce because we have a pool of young talented individuals who are eager to make an impact in the world. And, we have an array of excellent workforce development resources available to help them do just that. We simply need to do a better job connecting the two.
For more information about Youth Talent Development Services offered at the Kentucky Career Center, contact Eric Owsley at email@example.com or (859) 292-2642.
The Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board (NKWIB) drives the work of the local Kentucky Career Center system to prepare and connect qualified job seekers to the hiring needs of regional employers. For more information, visit www.nkcareercenter.org/workforce-investment-board.
The local Kentucky Career Center (KCC) system is Northern Kentucky’s largest, most comprehensive, workforce resource serving job seekers and employers through a collaboration of 13 partner organizations. Kentucky Career Centers are located in Covington, Florence, Carrollton, and Williamstown. For more information, visit: www.nkcareercenter.org.
April is volunteer appreciation month and we have a lot of reasons to be appreciative.
1,817 reasons to be exact!
Did you know that the national average dollar value per volunteer is $24.14 an hour? That is a huge impact and savings! Because of the generosity of others who volunteer, we are able to provide programming and services that might not be available otherwise.
Volunteers provided important support to programs by:
Helping to stabilize families who are experiencing a crisis
Providing experiences to youth to build leadership and reach their fullest potential
Providing necessary supports in our Early Childhood Education programs to help children reach developmental milestones
Providing free tax preparation that puts refunds back into the hands of hard-working NKY families
Providing assistance with resumes and conducting mock interviews with individuals seeking employment
Providing vital support to women on their path to recovery
Here is the incredible impact volunteers made in FY19 alone!
These volunteers helped Brighton Center serve 43,736 individuals through 41 programs on their path to long term self-sufficiency! We simply could not do this without our volunteers!
I have to get up
I have to wake the kids up
I have to get the kids dressed
I have to feed the kids
I have to get myself dressed
I have to take the kids to school
I have to get to the daycare
I have to get to school
I have to concentrate in class
I have to meet my group for our class project
I have to get to work
I have to pick up the kids
I have to pick up the kids
I have to cook dinner
I have to do homework
I have to study for a test
I have to help the kids with homework
I have to give the kids a bath
I have to get the kids to bed
I am so glad that I live at Northern Kentucky Scholar House...I need the support.
Being a single parent is often a monumental task but being a single parent while also trying to better your life through higher education is on an entirely different level.
That is where the support of Northern Kentucky Scholar House (NKSH) comes into play. NKSH, a partnership between Brighton Center and Neighborhood Foundations, is part of a comprehensive statewide, two-generation self-sufficiency initiative for single-parent families. The program provides affordable housing, child development services, and case management support as parents pursue a degree in higher education.
And while the program takes away the two largest barriers for parents, childcare, and housing, there are many more that are addressed along the way.
Since the first set of families moved in during the Fall of 2015, staff have worked to create a community atmosphere while offering support, additional resources, and often acting as a cheerleader for single parents and their children. Learning to navigate the multiple challenges of caring for children alone, working, going to school, and keeping up with daily life takes determination and will power. All of which, the families we serve fight to demonstrate on a daily basis.
It is a long-term journey that often breaks the multi-generational cycle of poverty and instead sets families and future generations up for a chance to make their dreams come true and not worry about how bills are going to get paid or where their next meal will come from or if they will have a roof over their heads tomorrow.
Although it's bittersweet to say goodbye to families, it’s also beyond rewarding to see a family move on to the next chapter of their lives and not need NKSH anymore because they have achieved their dream of completing higher education and can support themselves and their children.
To learn more about Northern Kentucky Scholar House Click Here
To support the 2-generational life, changing work at Northern Kentucky Scholar House Click Here
It’s one of those phrases that seems almost hard to believe actually exists. And yet, it does, and the numbers are staggering.
Kentucky leads the U.S. in the rate of child homelessness based on 2016-17 data
- 28,650 children, nearly 7% of the state’s public school students, are living in a homeless shelter, motel or campground, car, outside, or staying with relatives or friends
- 5,964 or 21% of these youth are in Northern Kentucky
Since 1983 Brighton Center has run the only 24/7 homeless shelter in Northern Kentucky, Homeward Bound, for teens ages 11-17. The shelter provides immediate access to a safe place for teens along with basic necessities, counseling, therapy, life skills, and support in finding a safe living arrangement.
Our Impact Last Year
370 homeless and runaway youth received crisis services and 84 were served residentially
286 youth received crisis intervention services through the hotline or accessing shelter for non-residential services
94% of runaway and homeless youth received exit counseling to ensure safe living arrangements
93% of youth admitted to shelter care remained in their home school
You can help support these teens and our Homeward Bound Shelter by attending Mardi Gras for Homeless Children on Tuesday, March 5, which is the only annual fundraiser that supports the shelter. You can also visit our Amazon wishlist here to purchase needed items.
Did you know Brighton Center offers FREE Tax Preparation?
Our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) assists with the preparation of tax returns through trained and certified volunteers for families with incomes of $66,000 or below.
You may be wondering how the partial government shutdown affects tax return season.
Here is what the IRS has confirmed as of today.
Tax return processing will begin on January 28th
The filing deadline is April 15, 2019
Tax refunds will be issued within 10 to 14 days once filed and approved except for individuals who qualify for the Earn Income Tax Credit (EITC).
EITC returns will be processed starting 2/15/19 and refunds are expected to be issued by 2/28/19.
2019 Tax Law Reform Major Changes - as provided by the IRS
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the first major change to the American tax system in 30 years. Many of the new tax rules are expected to benefit taxpayers – especially in the early years of the act. Just how much your taxes will go down in 2019 depends on many factors, and your family situation will definitely impact how much (or how little) your refund will go up. Here is a list of the tax law changes affecting taxpayers with dependents in 2018. For additional tax law changes please go to www.IRS.gov.
1) Changes to the Child Tax Credit
If you took advantage of the child tax credit in 2017, you were able to claim a $1,000 credit on your income tax return for each child under 17 who qualified. For 2018, that deduction has doubled to $2,000 per qualifying child.
The child tax credit was nonrefundable before the Tax Reform. Now, the refundable portion is equal to 15% of your earned income over $2,500, up to $1,400. To estimate how much of the refund you would receive, you can use the following equation:
(Your salary - $2,500) x .15
In order for your child to qualify for the new credit, they must meet all of the requirements on the Child Tax Credit Test.
Child Tax Credit Test
- The child must be under age 17. More precisely, your child must have been 16 years or younger on the last day of 2018.
- The child must be related to you. This includes your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, your grandchild, niece or nephew, or legally adopted child.
- You must claim the child as a dependent on your federal tax return.
- The child must be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. National, or a U.S. resident alien with an SSN.
- The child must have lived with you for more than half of the tax year. Note: there are exceptions to the residency test, such as absences related to school, vacation, military service, and medical care.
- The child must not provide more than half of his or her own support.
The new child tax credit eventually phases out for married taxpayers filing jointly with an income of $400,000 ($200,000 for all other taxpayers).
2) A $500 Credit for Dependents Age 17-24
If your child does not qualify for the Child Tax Credit because they are over 17, they may still be eligible for a $500 credit under the new law. The credit also applies for dependents who are elderly or disabled.
3) Changes to the personal exemption and standard deduction
If you filed your taxes in 2018, you should have received a personal exemption of $4,050 for yourself and each of your dependents. Your personal exemption was subtracted from your taxable income in addition to your standard or itemized deductions.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has eliminated this exemption, but it has increased the standard deduction to $24,000 for married filing joint, $12,000 if you are a single filer and $18,000 for Head of Household. For families with few children, this could be good news. But if you have several children or your dependents are over age 17, this could mean that more of your income is taxable. Fortunately, the tax law changes did lower income tax rates for most Americans. You can review the current Brackets at www.IRS.gov.
4) Restrictions to homeowner deductions
Homeowners especially will feel the effects of the new tax rules. If your family bought a home in 2018, you might be considering itemizing your deductions. In that case, be aware that under the new tax laws, the amount you can deduct for state and local tax deduction is now capped at $10,000. There are also limits to how much you can deduct for home mortgage interest and home equity loan interest. Learn more about the tax law changes specifically affecting homeowners here.
5) Changes to alimony deductions
This law won't take effect until Jan. 1, 2019, and it won't change at all for you if your divorce was finalized prior to Dec. 31, 2018. In other words, when you file your taxes for 2018, you will still be able to deduct alimony paid out. Likewise, if you are the recipient of alimony, you will need to include those payments in your taxable income for 2018.
If your divorce is finalized or you modify your alimony agreement on or after Jan. 1, 2019, then alimony payments cannot be deducted from the payer's taxable income for 2019. If you are the one receiving alimony, it should not be reported as part of your taxable income.
6) Expanding the 529 savings plan
For many parents, saving money to send kids to college is a priority - but nowadays, even putting your kids through kindergarten can get expensive! If you have been saving money for higher education, you probably chose the most tax-advantaged plan available to you. If you went with a 529 savings account, there are new advantages under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). With the old tax laws, your 529 could only be used at eligible colleges and universities. Under the new TCJA, you can use your plan to cover up to $10,000 per year of qualifying expenses for any school and any grade from kindergarten through 12th as well. That includes public, private, and religious institutions.
7) Changes to the kiddie tax
The kiddie tax applies to children under age 19 and college students under age 24 who have unearned income over $2,100. Unearned income can mean dividends, capital gains or interest on investments. Following the tax law changes, qualifying income will be taxed at the rate for trusts and estates on the return you file in 2019. Those rates are:
Interest and Short-Term Capital Gains
Up to $2,550 = 10%
$2,550 - $9,150 = 24%
$9,150 - $12,500 = 35%
Over $12,500 = 37%
Long-Term Capital Gains and Dividends
Up to $2,600 = 0%
$2,600 - $12,700 = 15%
Over $12,700 = 20%
RS Withholding Calculator:
(Verify your payroll withholding with this link)
For additional information please visit: www.IRS.gov
So, we've taken the plunge, we've started a blog!
And, we are hoping you will join us as we embark on this new endeavor.
One of the biggest challenges we are working to overcome is how do we tell our story? How do we help people understand just how comprehensive we are?
Did you know that Brighton Center has over 40 different programs and services?
Did you know we serve infants to older adults and everyone in between?
Did you know we offer the long-term support and guidance individuals and families need to reach self-sufficiency but they are the ultimate drivers on the journey?
Now you do!
A few of the topics we hope to share include:
- Family-friendly fun activities
- Tips and tricks for homeownership
- Financial wellness tips
- How to stand out in today's workforce
- A look into the issues and challenges our customers face every day
- Stories of success
- Behind the scenes look at Brighton Center
Above all, We Are A Community of Support and we hope this blog will serve as an extension of that, as a place to start conversations, and a place to share our story with you.